There’s only one AI feature I need Apple to announce for iOS 18

Can you believe that we’re only three months away from WWDC 2024? I feel like Tim Cook just unveiled the Vision Pro (which he did at WWDC23), and we’re almost all the way back around to see what Apple has cooking next for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS — if they even bother with a tvOS section this year (sorry, Apple TV team).

It seems like the big rumor for this year’s WWDC has nothing to do with hardware — a reasonable expectation since the entire event exists to highlight what the company has coming next with its software platforms. This year, instead of several features across operating systems, the expectation is completely focused on one thing: AI.

Apple has started to be more direct about its upcoming AI features. Between research papers, some generative AI test projects, and a number of AI-focused acquisitions as recent as — checks watch — today, the company is slowly but surely hinting that it plans to follow Microsoft, Google, OpenAI, and basically everyone else in Silicon Valley and jump into the AI-soaked fray.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Microsoft CEO Satya NadellaMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks as OpenAI’s Sam Altman looks on during the OpenAI DevDay event on November 06, 2023, in San Francisco. Image source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

While there are plenty of AI-related features that Apple could announce at WWDC 24, the most obvious would be to turn Siri into a chatbot like Microsoft’s Copilot, Google’s Gemini, or OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Instead of having a conversation with Siri using your voice or writing simple prompts, you could chat with Siri more naturally.

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Of course, there’s a slew of other rumors of what Apple could do with generative AI. From creating tracks in Garageband to cutting together footage in Final Cut Pro, the company could go to town with a ton of AI rabbit holes if it wanted to. It’s just a matter of priority and where Apple thinks it could do something better than everyone else. Well, it used to be that, at least.

While there are many possibilities, there’s only one AI feature that I need Tim Cook to announce at WWDC this year. It might sound unexciting compared to everything else that the company could do, but I can’t stress this one enough: I just need Siri to fucking understand me.

Our decade-long battle with Apple’s voice assistant

We are in 2024. Siri originally launched on the iPhone back in 2011. This voice assistant is now almost thirteen-years-old, and it is still laughably bad at understanding what I am saying to it. I’m honestly not even mad that it doesn’t understand what I say, but more so that it makes the wrong guess and starts running with it.

Here’s an example. Apple Music makes a playlist called Lo-Fi Chill. The playlist is made by Apple itself. Sometimes, I want to listen to that playlist throughout my apartment, so I call out to my HomePod mini and say: “Hey Siri, play the Lo-Fi Chill playlist.” What do I get back? Siri, very confidently and about fifty percent of the time, says, “Okay, playing LoFi Chill Hop Study Beats.”

I’ve tried everything. I’ve said, “Hey Siri, play Lo-Fi Chill,” “Hey Siri, play the Lo-Fi Chill Apple Playlist,” and any other combination of prompts, but the voice assistant only gives me the correct result about half of the time. Eventually, I just grab my iPhone and select the playlist manually rather than continue to lose my mind trying to explain myself to the little speaker.

Here’s that playlist, by the way. It’s fantastic.

This is all I’m asking from Apple. I just want Siri to get smarter and actually understand the request — even if it can’t complete it. I’d rather Siri shrug and say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” than, “I think I know what you’re talking about, so here’s this.” The generative AI part of this makes me imagine a world where Siri would ask for clarification, but given our history, I feel like that’s a pie-in-the-sky kind of dream I’m having right now.

There are so many examples of this kind of issue with Siri that we’ve all likely run into one — or many. I regularly ask Siri to “Add eggs to my grocery list,” and she says, “You don’t have a grocery list.” It’s called Groceries in my Reminders app. I don’t feel like I’m asking for huge leaps here.

We’ll see what Tim Cook and the team have to unveil at WWDC in June, and I’m sure there’s going to be some flashy generative AI and other AI-centered features across the iPhone and the company’s other platforms. But more than any of those, I just want Apple to fix what has been a fundamentally broken voice assistant for the last decade.


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